Disclaimer: The author of this article is employed at Mt. Scott Community Center.
Mt. Scott Community Center (MSCC) announced its remodel that will begin in the winter of 2023. Located in southeast Portland, MSCC includes a gym, two pools, a hot tub, and a roller skating rink. The remodel will involve changing the entire building except the aquatic center, which has pools and hot tubs. The new update will completely tear down the old structure and replace it with modern-looking glass walls, and a well-lit building. Although the aquatic center will remain untouched, it will still be closed until the remodel is completed.
The remodel is much needed, and will be a great improvement for the staff that work there. Many people in the community are sad to see the center closing for so long. Stella McDermott, a lifeguard who currently works at MSCC, says, “The remodel will be bittersweet because the building really needs to be redone, but there are so many memories there that are sad to leave behind, especially considering that I won’t ever work there again.” McDermott is a senior at Central Catholic High School, and will soon be in college. “We as staff were told the remodel will take around 4 years to complete which means I’m not likely to work there again,” she adds.
According to the project’s webpage, the closure will last approximately 18 months. For many of the staff this means they will have to relocate to different community centers or different places all together. This may be challenging, because a lot of the staff have worked there for many years, and finding a new place to work can be difficult. McDermott builds on this, saying, “For me and all the other lifeguards it won’t be a big deal, we will just have to find another Portland Parks and Recreation community pool to work at. It will just be sad.”
Although the end result of the remodel will likely have a positive impact on the community around it, the sad fact is that it’s closing for over a year and many things can change in a year. Closing down a building like MSCC which attracts many people to the area can harm small businesses around it: “The little gas station is going to take a big hit, especially because of all the staff that go there to buy snacks, drinks, and other things year round,” McDermott says. The small businesses around the area, like coffee shops, may see a decrease in customers because of the closing.
On the positive side, once the remodel is all done it is likely to attract many people to go and see it for themselves and make the community center a more popular place to go. The state of the building is outdated and old, so if the remodel attracts more people it could benefit the small businesses around it. “Even though the building is outdated and desperately needs a redo, it still holds memories and is important to the community around it,” McDermott concludes, adding, “The Mt. Scott they’re tearing down is the one I grew up going to, and the first place I ever worked so it is definitely sad to see it go, and I know many people feel the same.”